This is an excerpt from Greg Gilbert’s book What Is the Gospel? It’s also cited by Ray Ortlund in his book called The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ. I highly recommend both books.
Gilbert uses satire to portray the type of god that many people seem to believe in these days. He’s basically toothless and harmless, so diminished in His attributes that He is neither to be feared nor to be loved on any deep level.
He perhaps merits only our mild affection, not our fear, reverence, respect, submission or obedience. Whatever else we might say about this god, He is certainly not the true God revealed in the Bible. No wonder Satan loves for people to believe this caricature of the Almighty:
Let me introduce you to god. (Note the lowercase g.)
You might want to lower your voice a little before we go in. He might be sleeping now. He’s old, you know, and doesn’t much understand or like this “newfangled” modern world. His golden days—the ones he talks about when you really get him going—were a long time ago, before most of us were even born. That was back when people cared what he thought about things, and considered him pretty important to their lives.
Of course all that’s changed now, though, and god—poor fellow—just never adjusted very well. Life’s moved on and passed him by. Now, he spends most of his time just hanging in the garden out back. I go there sometimes to see him, and there we tarry, walking and talking softly and tenderly among the roses…
Anyway, a lot of people still like him, it seems—or at least he manages to keep his poll numbers pretty high. And you’d be surprised how many people even drop by to visit and ask for things every once in a while. But of course that’s alright with him. He’s here to help.
Thank goodness, all the crankiness you read about sometimes in his old books—you know, having the earth swallow people up, raining fire down on cities, that sort of thing—all that seems to have faded in his old age. Now he’s just a good-natured, low-maintenance friend who’s really easy to talk to—especially since he almost never talks back, and when he does, it’s usually to tell me through some slightly weird “sign” that what I want to do regardless is alright by him. That really is the best kind of friend, isn’t it?
You know the best thing about him, though? He doesn’t judge me. Ever, for anything. Oh sure, I know that deep down he wishes I’d be better—more loving, less selfish, and all that—but he’s realistic. He knows I’m human and nobody’s perfect. And I’m totally sure he’s fine with that. Besides, forgiving people is his job. It’s what he does. After all, he’s love, right? And I like to think of love as “never judging, only forgiving.” That’s the god I know. And I wouldn’t have him any other way…
Okay, we can go in now. And don’t worry, we don’t have to stay long. Really. He’s grateful for any time he can get.
Photo by Peter Mason on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.